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Da_Blitz
i am intrested in what you would like to see in the keyboard

some things i would like:
lots of shortcut keys: i do alot of VT switching and have them bound for that
Backlit: with one or two colors
Laptop like keys: keys simmilar to a laptop rather than the hard button cxx00 or membrane
dvorak layout as well as qwerty: perhaps printed on the same keyboard layout to reduce variations

one idea that i have had )not sure how much you will like it) is to use a corded aproch where a letter is made up of 1 or more button pushes (common keys are one button, less common are two or more buttons pushed at the same time)

the advantage is that you could have full sized keys and it should help with some anoying key combos (try doing a ctrl+c without sticky keys on a cxx00), the problems however are that you would need to learn a new keyboard, maximum typing speed is slowed down slightly

i will of course not be shiping it unless its specified but i belive that one or two people may be intrested, mainly those who are into wearable computers, with a screen rotation it would allow you to have your computer and your keyer in one

any other proposals, normal or otherwise, for the keyboard
daniel3000
Hello Da_Blitz.

some thoughts about this from someone who has used palmtop keyboards for ten years now daily:

* Durability: The mechanics of a keyboard should be chosen / made very well. The keyboard and the screen hinge are the items which are under most mechanical stress.

* Different Layouts: In6 order to reduce variants (just one base variant) but to keep it flexible and in order to keep it optically clear, use overlays. Just one label or at most two for the base functions of the keys, and for special characters etc. which are usually printed above the key, use exchangeble plastic grids.

* Maybe have a look at the keyboard of the HP 200LX. It was very convenient to use (not backlit, though), was quite durable and the keys had a good spacing for fast touch-typing.

QUOTE
one idea that i have had )not sure how much you will like it) is to use a corded aproch where a letter is made up of 1 or more button pushes (common keys are one button, less common are two or more buttons pushed at the same time)


To be honest, I wouldn't like it at all.
Certainly time will come when the qwerty keyboard is obsolete and people have adopted to new input methods, including ones similar to what you mention. But now that people are used to qwerty keyboard, a PDA should have that as well, IMHO.

What you might consider is a numeric keypad. For people doing a lot of numbercrunching, data entry etc. this is very valuale. Maybe a part of the alpha keyboard could be configured to be either alpha or behave as a numeric keypad (as most laptops have it now).

daniel
kurochka
A backlit keyboard would be awesome. I would agree with Daniel that so far qwerty has been the standard, and the majority are probably accustomed to it. For the wearable computer types, I think they would figure out a way to get their own keyboards and would not listen to anybody else's advice.

Regarding the dvorak vs. qwerty layout. Please don't forget that a lot of us are not main English speakers. It would be impossible for you to cater to all the combinations of key lables (I am talking about what is written on the keys not about the software implementation) that various people would need. For me, I would need an English and Ukrainian keyboard. Maybe you could have one standard English and as an option a keyboard with empty keys for those keys that have letters. The people who need it could use custom stickies, laser engraving or some sort of other customization mechanism.


Another idea. If the space permits, the keyboard could have some additional keys to the right of the lettered keys in the three rows (see keys for []\;',./ on the regular keyboard, at least on the U.S. one). The Zaurus Cxxx models do not have these keys. These keys could be used in those alphabets that have more than 26 letters. In English these keys could have some other meaning or be used for customizable functions. In Zaurus some frequently used Ukrainian letters have to be typed with FN to keep the rest of the keyboard as close to the standard Ukrainian layout as possible.

Actually, we can scrap the whole idea of the keyboard. We could have a neurowave receiver and read the thought signals received directly from the brain. Authentication would be an issue - you don't want your device to read somebody else's thoughts. Privacy concerns would also abound. biggrin.gif
uMP2k
Another vote for sticking to the qwerty layout.

As for the actual keyboard design, well I have not actually used one of the Z keyboards (yet!) but from what I read they seem to be pretty good for thumb typing.

Of course if somebody could work out how to implement something like the folding keyboard on the Psion 5/5mx well.....

Realistically however, I am thinking maybe something like the current Z keyboard but with some extra keys for the missing punctation etc.
Da_Blitz
i think you seem to be missing the point about the alternate key input method, its an item you have to order seperatlly, so i am not looking for "its a not good/good idea" i am looking more for "i want one" its an opt in system not an opt out, secondlly the erason qwerty is so common is beacuse of that attitude, it dosent bother me as i just pop the keys on a keyboard and rearange them for DVORAK (thats why some of my spelling mistakes are wierd)

the hpx200 is a mebrane keyboard, the diffrence between that and the cxx00 is that the cxx00 has plastic caps on top and has less travel

for overlays that would mean that we would have to keep the buttons the same size as on the cxx00, i would rather silkscreen the Caps with the qwerty layout and the dveorak layout. nice and simple and ALOT cheaper, i dont think that i will have the resources or the plastic overlay thing

the alpha numeric is mainly a software thing, its not that hard to set up on a Z, it wouldnt be hard to add to the silkscreen ethier, considering the button will be larger thanon most Z's (ie less of a gap between buttons)

for the wearables, there is a reason for the keyboards they use, you dont have acsess to two hands when you have a keyboard strapped to one. there are one or two people here that will be using this as a wearable computer (i know i will be) and alternative input methods are a must, they can be connected via USB but having an optional board avalible would be the better choice

the psion keyboard is the one i am aiming for with this opitnol keyboard, larger buttons with a better tactile feedback, with the current Z i have trouble typing when its cold as i cant feel the feedback as well, this is a problem mainly with my password which is more than 20 characters and i cant see what i am typing

for alternative languages i could make room on each key to put your own, i belive with the larger buttons that 4 diffrent icons could be placed per key (not ideal) each in a diffrent color, i would be tempted to fit as many diffrent languges on the keys as posible (mix the extra keys across the keyboard) so that you wouldnt have to get them engraved but i guess it depends on how many languges i would have to support (no asian ones please, that would take up all the keys)

QUOTE
Actually, we can scrap the whole idea of the keyboard. We could have a neurowave receiver and read the thought signals received directly from the brain. Authentication would be an issue - you don't want your device to read somebody else's thoughts. Privacy concerns would also abound.

due 2014 smile.gif
Drake01
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Aug 16 2006, 06:49 AM)
i think you seem to be missing the point about the alternate key input method, its an item you have to order seperatlly, so i am not looking for "its a not good/good idea" i am looking more for "i want one" its an opt in system not an opt out

Assuming that the chorded keyboard would be a reasonably priced accessory (probably USB, as you suggest), I would consider one. I've never tried one, but I've heard about them often enough and I can envision a number of situations where it could be very convenient if I can learn to use it effectively.

I was going to suggest that chorded keyboards are already available on the market, but a quick search revealed the prices for these. (High.) There's some interesting stuff on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorded_keyboard

Do you intend to invest the time and research to develop an ergonomic design? Or were you planning to find some unit that's already in production?
Da_Blitz
the idea is that it replaces the normal keyboard, not that it is in adititon to however i suppose it would be easy to do both

it would be handy as you can have the headphones plugged in and use the linux speakup patch to comunicate with your Z without looking at it, if the keyboard is attached to the thing then it can all be held in one hand (great for when you cant get a seat on a bus which is its primary motivation)

i dont intend to spend the time on ergonimics, quite simply you grip the PP case and warp your finges around it until your fingers rest on the middle line, you then have about 3 rows x 6 coulms to use as input these keys will be the same as the psion or on a laptop and about the same size as well (hence the incresed size/reduced number of keys)

the wikipedia article is good but thier are better examples on the web as well as how to do it yourself for very little money, try looking up steve mann
Da_Blitz
there is one advantage to this type of design, one that only just occured to me, if its a half keyboard then if you times that by 2 you get a full sized keyboard

my thinking is that you have a c3000 like case, you open it up and you see the large corded keyboard (by corded i mean that to type a letter more than one key has to be pushed at the same time, so it is slightly diffrent from the ones you see on the market)

this has a latch on one side that allows it to open so you end up with an L shape with the keyboard buttons facing down.

this then has a piviot at the front of the case that allows it to flip foward, making the buttons point upwards

seems like a nice idea as you can then flip the screen around and close it then tilt it upwards slightly to get a very nice mini desktop, i dont think this is anything near what we will end up with but it has given me some ideas on how to distribute everything

for exapmle if we move the electronics into the back of the keyboard and make it thicker then we can use a large flat battery and leave the bottom bit that is attached between the keyboard and screen purelly for a battery
Ferret-Simpson
But aren't Large flat batteries rarer and more expensive than a short thick battery? We'd end up using XDA Exec backplate batteries.

Althhough they're apparently over 3Ah. . ..
nevarrie
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Aug 15 2006, 05:58 AM)
one idea that i have had )not sure how much you will like it) is to use a corded aproch where a letter is made up of 1 or more button pushes (common keys are one button, less common are two or more buttons pushed at the same time)

the advantage is that you could have full sized keys and it should help with some anoying key combos (try doing a ctrl+c without sticky keys on a cxx00), the problems however are that you would need to learn a new keyboard, maximum typing speed is slowed down slightly

i will of course not be shiping it unless its specified but i belive that one or two people may be intrested, mainly those who are into wearable computers, with a screen rotation it would allow you to have your computer and your keyer in one

any other proposals, normal or otherwise, for the keyboard
*


so would this be something like the frogpad(http://www.frogpad.com/). Considering that I am looking at switching to using the frogpad as my main keyboard on all my machines this would interest me if we could get the frogpad as keyboard layout.
adf
if you start using a frogpad would you mind giving us some insight about how quicky its use becomes as seconf nature as a qwerty?
Ferret-Simpson
12 years of Qwerty training. You MIGHT get me on Dvorak, but Chording? Nah. I'll wait till 2014 and I don't need a keyboard.

Good keyboard? Universal. And on the note of the "Long Alphabets" the Uni has a "Symbol" key that can be pressed after typing a character to access all it's variants. It's good when I want to send text messages in french. . . .
craigtyson
What about a slip on / snap in overlay with different layouts covering a generic key matrix

1. QWERTY
2. ATERZY (? French)
3. CHINESE
4. QWERTY UK (£ on 3 " on 2)
5. German Grobe ect
6. DOOM / QUAKE / HERETIC Games layout
7. BRAIL ?

Could use several materials for the overlays from plastic or rubber with plastic laminated alu foil key tops. or a standard keybaord with an exchangeable underlay with the lables on to achieve the same effect.
J B Nimble
Looks like I am too late to the game on this one.

Someone mentioned a Psion keyboard, and I would like to second the idea. Too big for the current design? Probably. That is why I say I am too late. For my own taste, I would like to see a slightly larger deisgn, if it allows for a more usable keyboard. Perhaps a wide-screen, 800x480 say, to fit at least a revo-style keyboard.

Of course, I am just now buying my first Zaurus because I am still so attached to my Psion 7Book. cool.gif I was hoping the Nokia 9300 would be a good solution, but the keys are not wonderful. dry.gif

Jack
nevarrie
QUOTE(adf @ Aug 23 2006, 11:26 AM)
if you start using a frogpad would you mind giving us some insight about how quicky its use becomes as seconf nature as a qwerty?
*


I am hoping to order my frogpad in the next few weeks so I will let you knwo what I think. I do have to admit that I am not a touch typest, or at least I do not use the correct fingers on keys and look at my had every once and a while to see what I am typing. So for me it will be training my self to learn to type and breaking 20 years of bad habits.
Ferret-Simpson
hey, I'm the opposite of a touch typist usually. I touch correct.
Da_Blitz
actually what i proposed was 2 frogpads (2 x 1/2 psion keyboards) that fold up in normal use and can be opened up to a laptop sized keyboard (or full psion)

i have been using dvorak for awhile now (hence the wierd typos) and i am begining to feel that most people wont cahnge because they cant be stuffed, its not hard at all. i did notice the lower impact it seems to have on my hands and i have found that i tend to think dvorak is beter laid out (mabey i just use it a bit too often)

i am intrested in getting a frogpad, they say you can pick up a corded keyboard faster than another keyboard layout as it dosent interfere with your "qwerty" part of the brain and can co exsist, perhaps i should just remap my keyboard to give it a go

actually i think it would be better to butcher an old keyboard i have laying around, althogh i am using a G15 under linux and havent bound the "G" keys yet smile.gif

oh and overlays are a no-no, i have said it before, we simply dont have the manufacturing capabilities and in my opion it is a PITA
zmiq2
just found this provider

http://www.storm-interface.com/dyncat.cfm?catid=19316

lloks nice resistant and cheap.
adf
durable and useable.

Backilghting a definite plus.

maybe chording with a foldout. I don't think (though honestly I haven't tried it) I'd like to be stuck wtih a cording + external kbd only option..

a backlit z keyboard would certainly suffice.

I suspect that you'll provide useable options. wouldn't be much point if you didn't. get what useable reliable stuff that can be easily and reasonably acquired and we'll see what can be done, maybe?
morrijr
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Aug 24 2006, 03:24 PM)
i have been using dvorak for awhile now (hence the wierd typos) and i am begining to feel that most people wont cahnge because they cant be stuffed, its not hard at all. i did notice the lower impact it seems to have on my hands and i have found that i tend to think dvorak is beter laid out (mabey i just use it a bit too often)


I've considered switching to a dvorak layout several times, however 3 things hold me back...

1) I've a high (touch) typing speed and would have to relearn a lot of 'finger' memory
2) my favourite (and most comfortable) keyboard I've found is a split ergonomic which (if I understand the finger layout for dvorak correctly) would stop my right first finger reaching the 'T' (on a qwerty keyboard) character equivelent.
3) I work in an environment/job where I use other peoples computers a lot - none of which have a physical dvorak keyboard and few, if any, have the dvorak layout installed.

So, while I'd love to switch I don't think it would be feasable. Please keep a qwerty option available. smile.gif

J.
Da_Blitz
not really what i was looking for, the providers we have already seem like the best as they do custom keyboards

the cording keyboard is really somthing i only expect i will use, if we put the keys on the back of the PCB as the folding keyboard would imply you can relaly have any layout you want

the only problem is if you have a normal Z keyboard when folded up then you cant have a full keyboard when folded out, you can have the normal Z keyboard plus a game pad or touch pad or whatever you want on the second half

basically you get 2 areas about the size of the Z keyboard, when folded up you can only see one half, when oppened you get the original and another half so you can see why a corded keyboard makes sensce if you want a full sized keyboard, its the only way to achive it without what i would call "hacks"

the other reason for having the buttons on the PCB is that the overall hight becames thinner, which is essential in a fold out keyboard as hight is a killer (do you want a PDA thats thicker than a c3000, i dont mind but others wont
morrijr
I have to admit, a fold out keyboard isn't high on my personal needs for a pda. The Z5500 was OK and the clamshell style would be fine (again, personally).

I'd also be concerned with the joint between the two halves and how the keyboard (if it could) operate when folded.
BarryW
QUOTE(morrijr @ Sep 11 2006, 03:13 AM)
I have to admit, a fold out keyboard isn't high on my personal needs for a pda.  The Z5500 was OK and the clamshell style would be fine (again, personally).

I'd also be concerned with the joint between the two halves and how the keyboard (if it could) operate when folded.
*



That would definitely be a failure point. I get alot of laptops with broken display cables up here. Most is because people don't let their laptops warm up after leaving them in the car over night.
Ferret-Simpson
Again on the Failure point. It's not worth it. Better to keep the internal one an internal one. After all, if your keyboard snaps in half, you're gonna have to buy a new boardset.
Da_Blitz
ferret simpson, i dont fully understand what you mean by internal, if you are reffering to the keyboard then there is no "external" keyboard, the main PCB piviots and folds out

BarryW, dose that include tha cables going to the screen on the Z, at the moment i am looking into using thin flat cable (the yellow see through plastic stuff with the tracks going throgh it) as it has the density and flexibility required for this to work

ferret-simpson we would be using a cable, if it snaps then you will have to buy a new 30c cable to connect the boards. its the same type of cable they use in every mobile phone with a hinge (see above)

its funny that you mention about the cold ruining hardware, i have heard of it but over here in australia things like that dont happen, over here we are more concerned with high temprutures and dust but it does give me somthing to think about
adf
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Sep 12 2006, 10:35 AM)
ferret simpson, i dont fully understand what you mean by internal, if you are reffering to the keyboard then there is no "external" keyboard, the main PCB piviots and folds out

BarryW, dose that include tha cables going to the screen on the Z, at the moment i am looking into using thin flat cable (the yellow see through plastic stuff with the tracks going throgh it) as it has the density and flexibility required for this to work

ferret-simpson we would be using a cable, if it snaps then you will have to buy a new 30c cable to connect the boards. its the same type of cable they use in every mobile phone with a hinge (see above)

its funny that you mention about the cold ruining hardware, i have heard of it but over here in australia things like that dont happen, over here we are more concerned with high temprutures and dust but it does give me somthing to think about
*

I always thought that leaving an lcd in a cold enough envirnment, long enough would kill it. I had thought North pole (near fairbanks) would be cold enough. Does it happen there?
Ferret-Simpson
Internal. Stuck in. Doesn't do "Out" no out involved. Out is NOT on the menu!

That's internal.
systemparadox
I'm very much open to a completely different style of keyboard, but I have a feeling that that's going to be an optional external extra.

Add me to the list for dvorak layouts, though I don't mind if I can just tell the qwerty model to send dvorak keys (I don't need to physically relabel the keys- actually this would probably confuse me- I look at the qwerty keys to type dvorak).

Some requests/ideas...

The keys for the Zaurii (both SL and C series) are spaced too far apart and are too small. Make the keys larger, make them almost touch (like laptop keyboards), and bevel them slightly (so the middle is higher than the edge). Also, the keys are too noisy. However, the organisers I have had previously have had rubber keyboards- these are too soft and have no feedback. What we really want is something like the Nokia 9500. You can feel them, but they don't make a noise.

Backlit would be good, but like the screen, make sure that they can be lit VERY VERY slightly- for use in absolute darkness (like in bed).

PLEASE, PLEASE, make the enter key span two rows.

Thanks
Simon
Da_Blitz
good point about the enter

at the moment if you do use the fold in half design and keying layout i am talking about then you would get full sized laptop keys, hence why i sugest it as i really do like the large buttons but larger keys are a definite must

good point about the backlight, i use ncmpc on the command line with a black backgorund and it can still be hard on the eyes
Da_Blitz
looks like someone partially stole my idea

http://www.engadget.com/2006/11/07/samsung...s-xp-at-75-mph/
chiark
Very, very neat - though I think the join could be smaller...
Da_Blitz
very true, i have aproblem with the split keyboard densign of the targus keyboards, the space button dosent go all the way to the center causing me to hit an empty pot

actually thinkng back i did get used to the microsoft natural keyboard with the split fairly quickly but it did kill my one handed typing
cycle_55
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Aug 15 2006, 03:58 AM)
i am intrested in what you would like to see in the keyboard

some things i would like:
lots of shortcut keys: i do alot of VT switching and have them bound for that
Backlit: with one or two colors
Laptop like keys: keys simmilar to a laptop rather than the hard button cxx00 or membrane
dvorak layout as well as qwerty: perhaps printed on the same keyboard layout to reduce variations

one idea that i have had )not sure how much you will like it) is to use a corded aproch where a letter is made up of 1 or more button pushes (common keys are one button, less common are two or more buttons pushed at the same time)

the advantage is that you could have full sized keys and it should help with some anoying key combos (try doing a ctrl+c without sticky keys on a cxx00), the problems however are that you would need to learn a new keyboard, maximum typing speed is slowed down slightly

i will of course not be shiping it unless its specified but i belive that one or two people may be intrested, mainly those who are into wearable computers, with a screen rotation it would allow you to have your computer and your keyer in one

any other proposals, normal or otherwise, for the keyboard
*



I would be happy with something like this. http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/half_keyboard_review
Wonder if it could be made to work.

cycle_55
Da_Blitz
might have to track one of them down. actually my idea was a bit like that with the stoaway with the c3000 screen filp things so that you had 2 halfs to make a keyboard or fold it against itself so you only had one half. i have been reworking the design a bit so that instead of a twist its a slide mechnism but i still dont think that it would be apreciated (basically the 2 halfs sit one above the other and when you want the full keyboard rather than 1/2 of one you slide it apart
cycle_55
QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Nov 17 2006, 10:25 PM)
might have to track one of them down. actually my idea was a bit like that with the stoaway with the c3000 screen filp things so that you had 2 halfs to make a keyboard or fold it against itself so you only had one half. i have been reworking the design a bit so that instead of a twist its a slide mechnism but i still dont think that it would be apreciated (basically the 2 halfs sit one above the other and when you want the full keyboard rather than 1/2 of one you slide it apart
*



I am going to try one, because the more I think about it the more I think that one handed keyboard use may work quite well in a mobile situation. When sitting at a desk one could possibly use one of the new laser projected keyboards. I am following this discussion with great interst even though I am not qualified to help at the very basic hardware or programming level. Since getting my Z and seeing all the small format hardware available these sorts of thoughts have been rolling around in my head. I had been thinking of assembling something into a highend leather wallet when I stumbled onto this forum and am now anxious to see where this goes. I would definitely be interested when it comes down to ordering. Thanks.

cycle_55
Ragnorok
- I've already mentioned I like Psion keyboards. (grin) A good compromise between key travel, typability, mechanical strength, and size.
- Stowaway keyboards are very nice as will. Wifey has one for her Treo that she just loves. If something like that were employed it could be acceptable, but I'd still lean towards a Psion or Psion-like keyboard because it's all one piece, and less likely to give trouble over time.
- Backlighting would be seriously cool. I wish Hiro had backlighting. I often tilt the screen towards the keyboard to type in the dark. (chuckle) I agree it should have a dimmer as well. Wifey's Treo has a lighted keyboard that's outright painful to behold in full dark.
- I also like the larger Enter key, but that could be a real issue with keyboard real estate at a premium.

- On a different note, in college I had an HP-41C that I paid $400 for, when a pair of them were the backup orbital insertion computers on the space shuttle. The first winter I owned it, I was driving home from college in upper Michigan, and it was seriously cold. When I got home and pulled the calculator from my luggage in the trunk, there were ice crystals on the display, and when I tried to turn it on, it only emitted baleful squeaks and then fell silent. Since it normally didn't make a peep on power-up, and it looked completely dead, I freaked. But as luck would have it, I popped the batteries and let it warm up over night and alles war gut. Whew! After that the 41C always rode in the passenger compartment!
Da_Blitz
http://www.patentmonkey.com/pm/patentid/7221330.aspx

must steal this idea!!!! smile.gif

truely its good, only need 2 touchscreens then. when you dont need the keyboard you can remove it
Ragnorok
- Looks cumbersome imho (shrug)...
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